• Licences for modular refineries ready soon

The Presidency has directed the resumption of activities towards the opening of the Nigerian Maritime University as part of measures to restore lasting peace and order in the Niger-Delta before the end of the year, in line with the demands by major stakeholders in the region.

A statement issued on Friday by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande said the directive aligns with effort of government to further the Niger Delta New Vision policy of the Buhari administration.

“Coming as one of the several follow-up actions to the recent Presidential level interactive engagements with the Niger Delta oil producing communities, the prompt implementation of directive on the re-opening of the Maritime University to the Ministry of Education is to be coordinated by a 5-man inter-agency Committee headed by the Minister of Education.

According to the statement, other members of the Committee will be drawn from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Universities Commission, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency and the Office of the Deputy Governor of Delta State.

“The Committee is to finalize the ongoing processes towards the opening of the Nigeria Maritime University in the 2017/2018 academic session. The Committee will work collaboratively with the current Principal Officers and the Governing Council of the institution.

“Besides this, and in further demonstrating its unalloyed commitment to a new vision for the Niger Delta, the Buhari Presidency has been working assiduously to evolve a number of robust strategies for key multi-sectoral outcomes and deliverables for the people of the oil-producing communities.

Some of these commitment include formulation of general guidelines issued by the Federal Government, reaffirming its commitment and outlining its objectives towards the establishment of Modular Refineries in the Niger Delta.

This includes, the development of the technical criteria for issuing operating licenses that is now in final stages of drafting and would be released soon.

Akande said “a roadmap for addressing regional development challenges is being developed by an inter-agency working group comprising of Ministry of Niger Delta, Niger Delta Development Commission, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Ministry of Power, Works and Housing. This group is working in partnership with experts seconded by Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and key resource persons financed by a bi-lateral international development partner.

“The roadmap will be based on the framework of the 16-point agenda developed by PANDEF.

“A strategy for community-based participation in pipeline protection and policing is underway and will be validated with series of engagement processes, collaboratively with PANDEF, oil communities and other communities in the region that play host to the vast network of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta.

The statement also hinted on plans by the Presidency to conclude the fact-finding tours to the Niger Delta with visits by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to Cross River and Ondo States.

“It would be recalled that under the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Vice President undertook visits to oil producing States in the Niger Delta. During the visits, series of townhall meetings and consultations were held with a broad spectrum of stakeholders in a confidence building effort.

Earlier on Friday, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa commended the Buhari administration for its commitment to addressing the concerns of the Niger Delta people.

The governeor asserted the restoration of peace in Delta State and noted that the State Government is actively working with the FG on several of the plans, including the opening of the Maritime University.

The Governor who said he was in the Presidential Villa to show gratitude to the FG, spoke with reporters after a brief call on the Vice President.